Latest industry views and advice

February 7

Using a phrase like “the power of podcasting for business” suggests an element of force being exerted on you by a humble piece of online audio.

On the contrary, the influence of the podcast couldn’t be more subtle, as anyone who has become addicted to certain podcasts will tell you. The best podcasts worm their way into your routine, and find a regular home on your computer and portable mp3 player.

The podcast concept is well-established now, especially considering the most recent download figures for the BBC’s podcast library: more than 890,000 weekly downloads for Radio 4’s Friday night comedy show and even a respectable 165,000 for the more niche interest Peter Day’s World of Business.

A study of American online audio habits by Edison Research in 2012 showed that nearly 20% of people were listening to podcasts on a monthly basis, were more likely to own a mobile device and a quarter of them were listening to their podcasts while driving. Among Edison’s overall conclusions about podcasts, it found that:

  • Podcasts continue to be effective ways to reach affluent consumers who avoid advertising.
  • The dramatic rise in smartphone ownership is a tide that has lifted the “podcasting boat”.
  • The mass availability of the mobile web has changed the “out-of-home” podcasting dynamic from “subscribe and download” to “listen on demand”.
  • The term podcasting has hits its cap, but the listening behaviour hasn’t.

What you need to harness the power of podcasting for business

First, you need to think what your clients or customers would want to know that you can help them with. It’s your company’s expert knowledge that brings to life the value of audio content you produce. And, certainly, you need to make the time for your experts to put their energy and enthusiasm into regular podcasting output.

Whether recording podcasts in a studio (the more costly but premium quality and highly controlled option), your premises or another relevant location (quality is still possible beyond a studio with the recording technology available today), you should aim for as natural and unscripted a listening experience as you can muster. The sound of real, interesting and engaging people talking on a topic close to your customers’ hearts needs to be authentic to work and persuade them to “tune in” again.

To encourage more that just listening, you can combine your podcasting with complementary content for customers and prospects to download, or online response forms to complete and send as a result of what they’ve heard.

As the notable podcaster and principal of Holtz Communication + Technology, Shel Holtz, comments: “Podcasting is all about narrowcasting, particularly when dealing with a business audience. Resist the temptation to digress or risk losing an audience that listens because of the highly focused content you deliver”.

Here’s an example podcast, focusing on the success of a local Coffee Shop:

[audioboo url=”http://audioboo.fm/boos/1198390-coffee-fix-a-coffee-shop-success-story”]

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